Last weekend, I spent several hours in Indianapolis with my friend, Sarah Fry. We had a blast shooting pictures and having a great gabfest (we covered everything from cute shoes to prophecy). It was awesome.
We discovered we have a mutual penchant for cities. That was pretty neat.
I am fascinated with cities. I am infatuated with cities. I like the lights, the sparkle, the bustle, the buildings, the fountains, the bistros, and the spirit of them.
Maybe it’s because I’m a social person, and I enjoy being in the midst of moving crowd–navigating the streets and crosswalks, catching bits of conversation, watching the colors of clothing and feeling a part of the energy. Maybe it’s because I love a little glam by proxy–observing the limos and the ladies in furs, glimpsing the richness of the luxury hotels and thrilling to the gorgeous displays in the shop windows. Maybe it’s because I’m caught up in the human drama being enacted there — sighing over the flowers being delivered for the wedding, smiling over the couple in love riding in the carriage, wondering about the woman with the attache case or the giggly excitement of a group of teenage shoppers.
Sarah, who sees everything artistically, feels that cities are a testament to God’s image in man, an expression of divine DNA in human creativity. Wow, I like that. Great thought. I think you’re right, Sarah.
Yet, there is a dark side to city life — the seedy districts, the homeless with cardboard signs, the crime and drugs and heartache represented by thousands of broken people who call the cement jungle their home. This aspect of city living is not enjoyable; there is nothing glamourous about sin and its consequences.
I recall having a discussion with my brother about how stories in the Bible seem to suggest that cities were lairs of evil. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah, Babylon, Rome, and the far-off country of the prodigal. It does seem that wherever there is a concentration of people, sin multiplies.
But not all cities are icons of wickedness. Remember Jersualem, the Holy City? And how about the New Jerusalem, the city foursquare? Heaven will be a city — it has gates, walls, and dwellings and maybe even a park (what about the crystal river and tree of life?) Wherever it actually is, it will be a place of home and holiness and happiness. I want to go there.
Earthly cities will always have the dark side. But the heavenly city will be all light. And no one is denied entrance if they come through Jesus Christ.
That must be the reason that men are compelled to build cities and why people are drawn to experience life there. I think the creation of cities reflects the inner desire for heaven. At least that’s what I’m going to ponder the next time I enjoy the atmosphere of a city.
But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16 (ASV)